“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Jesus speaking in Luke 11:9
“Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7 in the Amplified Bible
“Your prayer will not be an asking or a seeking for any thing; it will be an asking and a seeking and a knocking for more light, greater spiritual wisdom, greater discernment.” – Joel S. Goldsmith
I’m sure many of you have read the Bible passage above or heard it at some point in your life. I’m also quite sure after reading or hearing it, the following statements have entered your mind – just as they have mine from time to time:
“I’ve asked, but I never seem to receive!”
“I have so many questions about the things going on in my life, but I never seem to find the answers or have any peace about them.”
“I’ve been praying for doors to open in my life, but none of them open. In fact, I feel like some have been slammed shut!”
When you read the statement Jesus makes in the passage above, it seems so simple. If you have a need, simply ask and you will receive it. If you’re seeking answers, you will readily find them. If you need a door opened, all it takes is a gentle knock and your entrance is guaranteed.
But if it’s that simple, why do we all seem to struggle with closed doors, evasive answers to the difficult questions we face, and constant lack regarding the fulfillment of our desires?
The Role of Persistence and Boldness in Prayer
When you read the passages BEFORE verse nine in the eleventh chapter of Luke, it gives us insight into the role perseverance plays in our prayer life.
“Then He said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything!’
I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s persistence and boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.” – Luke 11: 5-8
When I read these verses, I’m reminded that persistence and boldness in prayer shapes our desires and has a way of purifying our motives. Continually asking, diligently seeking out the answers, and knocking repetitiously are executed in correlation to the level of our need or desire within that particular area of our life.
Often when I’ve prayed about a need and nothing transpired, I quickly forgot about it. I guess that has a lot to say about the intensity level or depth of the need I was praying for at the time 🙂
Persistence and boldness in prayer is not about manipulating or begging God to get our way. When we continually ask or diligently seek or knock, we refine our needs and clarify our own desires. Our heart and mind begin to naturally align us with our correct priorities and necessities. I love how God uses these prayer attributes to help and support us 🙂
I hope you spend some time tonight thinking about your own desires, the things you seek, and those doors you want opened in your life. How persistent and bold have you been in your own prayer life when it comes to these needs? How has God used this aspect of prayer to help refine and clarify your true desires?
God’s Love Revealed to Us in Answers both Seen and Unseen
When you read the passages AFTER verse nine in the eleventh chapter of Luke, you begin to see the answers and non-answers to your prayers through the lens of God’s great love for you.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11: 11-13)
In the verses we mentioned earlier, Christ points out that even a reluctant, unmotivated man will eventually move to satisfy the needs of a bold friend who is unrelenting in his request. If this is true; how could a loving God be unmoved by the persistent prayers of His own children? Why would He act indifferent or in opposition to those things we desire most?
In my own life, I can vividly remember the times I asked for a “snake” or “scorpion” – thinking they were indeed a “fish” or an “egg” 🙂 God turning a deaf ear toward my request was synonymous with His enduring love for me.
Looking back, can you recall a time in your life when you asked for something that would have turned out disastrous had God given you the answer you desired?
All of us must constantly and vigilantly connect God’s intense love for us to both the answers and non-answers we receive in prayer. Christ points out for us that even human, mortal fathers know how to give good gifts to their children. “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Tonight as you contemplate your prayers, embrace the Holy Spirit – freely, lovingly, and consistently given to you by the Father.
I hope you see Him in the wisdom you receive through bold and persistent prayer – clarifying your true needs and desires – eventually moving your heart and mind in alignment with God’s loving plan for you.
As you recall the answers to your prayers and especially those requests that have gone unanswered, I pray that you clearly see them in the context of God’s great love for you – ALWAYS acting in your behalf and for your well-being.
And most importantly, I pray that no matter what you face, you keep asking, you keep seeking, and you keep knocking – confident that God’s love is continually flowing to you in both the answers and non-answers you receive.
God bless 🙂